Friday, April 12, 2013

FitDog Friday- Tips for Hiking with your Dog

My friend Sarah knows a thing or two about keeping fit with her dogs Charlie and Homie. They've been
taking some pretty impressive hikes together up the mountains in Vermont. I asked her some questions about hiking and tips for others who'd like to hike with their dogs-


1. How did you get started hiking with your dogs?
S: I never really hiked until I got my boy Charlie. My best friend Hilary invited Charlie and me on a hike up mount Mansfield one day and so up we went! Charlie did great! He was probably still a puppy. After that, I was addicted. Now, I would never think to go on a hike without at least one dog. The more the merrier!


2. Where have you gone on some typical hikes, how far have you hiked?
S: I have some favorite hikes, but as my life changes and I move around, I generally find new fun hikes as
I go. I love love love Hunger mountain in Waterbury, VT. Most gorgeous view at the summit. Stowe pinnacle is another favorite, close to Hunger Mtn, but a bit shorter in case I'm not up for a big hike. I started working in Vergennes a few months ago and so am exploring the local hikes out here--I hiked Snake Mountain for the first time three weekends ago and loved it so much I hiked it again the next two weekends! That is a nice, easy hike, with an amazing view! I live very close to Mt. Philo in Charlotte, which is a nice, 40 minute or so hike round trip. I do this a lot before or after work. Mt. Mansfield is also amazing!


3. How can you tell how much your dog is able to handle?

S: I know my dogs so well that I can tell if they can't handle something and we need to turn around. It's all about knowing your dog and being able to read them. Charlie and Homie have so far been able to handle every hike I've taken them on. I figure if I can do it, so can they! But best to start out hiking something small and work your way up.


4. What are the 5 most important things people should know about hiking with their dog?
1- Check the weather before you leave for a hike. Be very mindful of excessive heat or cold. Either can cause serious medical emergencies with your hiking buddy.
2- Make sure you are prepared in case something goes wrong (see supplies below)
3. Start out doing short hikes and work your way up to the bigger ones. 
4. Watch out for porcupines!
5. Be mindful of other hikers- not everybody wants a dog slobbering all over them...weirdos!

5. What are the 5 most important things to bring when hiking with dogs?
Water, leash, poop bags, food/snack, vet wrap (never know when someone's going to cut their pad). Things may vary depending on the season, but these would be my staples if i had to choose just 5. I am a vet tech, so I tend to bring a backpack full of different medical supplies just in case. They make handy emergency dog medical kits you can buy from pet stores. You could take this on the hike or even just leave it in the car just in case.


6. What other activities do your dogs enjoy?
My big dog Charlie loves swimming. That is probably his favorite activity. I've only had Homie for a few months, so this summer I will find out of he enjoys the water, also...I hope he does! I will have to get him a life jacket!

This post is part of FitDog Friday, where every week we share ways people are getting fit and healthy with their pets, tips and news bits, our challenges and successes. I hope you'll join in the hop!

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  2. Yeah, check the weather... I felt awful when we turned back away from a vicious storm on Mt. Hood last year. The boys all had frozen whiskers but were still having a blast!

  3. Woof! Woof! Hiking was one of my favorite activity when I was in HI. YES checking the weather is very important and it varies along your hike so it is important to dress properly. Happy FitDog Friday. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  4. Those are some fit dogs Peggy. Hiking is great exercise for both you and your dog!

    In SoCal, we have our own great trails and our indigenous hazards:

    1- Rattlesnakes- they come out when it warms up and we see them on the trails. For this reason, we don't let your dogs run free in the summer. They are deadly.

    2- Cactus- there are some very prickly cactus bushes here. We have had a few incidents with these in the past (Jack!)

    3- Coyotes- they usually are in packs and try and lure us in by sending out a solo scout who, when the dog chases it, head back to the pack. We have had some incidents with coyotes....

    4- Mountain Lions- we have never seen on on our trails, but they are there. Caution!

  5. We love to hike, and have hiked in a lot of different places. Tiny little Roxy will hike for miles and miles.

  6. Gizmo loves our hikes and has come with me on some pretty extreme swamp hikes without complaint

  7. Hiking sounds like a good plan. I even have a backpack
    Benny & Lily

  8. That looks like an amazing place to hike. We are heading out with our dog club for a hiking adventure soon. A dozen Airedales...Mayhem and Fun!

  9. We love Hiking in Utah - the Bonneville Shoreline Trail that runs the west side of the Wasatch Front is great for getting fresh air and beautiful scenery! Now is the time to start conditioning for hiking - the weather is cool and ideal!

  10. I miss hiking....we used to hike a lot with our former dogs, but once we got up to four dogs it was too difficult to take them all. I hope to try it again with my sister and just a couple of the dogs. Since I am in NH, all of those mountains sounded familiar! Though I think Stowe Pinnacle is the only one of those I've hiked myself. Great tips to keep in mind if I start up again.

  11. Heck, I'd has to takes da whole Vet office if I went hikin'...cuz you knows how I do...hehehe.


  12. Years ago, my dog Smokey was my hiking buddy. He had his own backpack and everything. We hiked all sorts of places in central Texas. And the best vacation I had ever been on was when Smokey and I went to Arizona. Sedona as the best for Smokey. The Grand Canyon was okay, but Smokey was not allowed to hike below the rim. :(

  13. Well, a slacker walker no more! Thanks to FitDog Friday and Park Day, I have been inspired to FIND time to walk with Max! Thanks everyone for the inspiration! You guys are the bestest! Sometimes you just need a little kick-start! :) We're gonna get there slowly but surely!

  14. Very cool! Bella can't go very far without getting tired, but I bet Tavish would enjoy some light hiking!

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